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By Bruce Mackey, Family Advisor, Patient and Family Advisory Council

My wife, Loyce, and I had 55 wonderful years together! We felt that our marriage was something special and we thoroughly enjoyed our life together.

Cancer entered our lives when Loyce was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in the late 1970s, but she also faced breast cancer and metastatic sacral breast cancer over the years. Throughout her cancer journey, Loyce was resolute in her fight against each occurrence. As the years passed, I continually learned how to become a very supportive and loving caregiver for her.

After recovering from her last radiation treatment, Loyce returned to her active social life and vigorous exercise program: playing tennis and walking 3 1/2 miles daily, rain or shine. For the next 8 years, life was wonderful! Alas, our world came crashing down when she fell down our second-floor steps. Severe trauma resulted in shattered sacral bones and nerves.

For 14 months, we consulted medical specialists in Daytona, but none of them could control Loyce’s excruciating pain. Finally, her local oncologist recommended Moffitt's neuro-oncology clinic. Within a week, she met her Moffitt neurosurgeon, who scheduled surgery the following week. Right away, we experienced the special caring Moffitt spirit! Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful, but by working with the Interventional Pain Clinic and Supportive Care Medicine program, we were able to address our emotional and spiritual needs before going home to hospice care.

A few days before Loyce passed away, we talked about how I should spend the rest of my life. She asked that I concentrate my efforts on helping others and becoming a Moffitt volunteer, as her Moffitt care was so far superior to her previous cancer center experiences. Now, eight years later, I am a Tampa resident enjoying my very rewarding life as a dedicated Moffitt Family Advisor volunteer.

To learn more about how to become a patient or family advisor, please call 813-745-2963 or email